This past weekend, the good people from Bridlewood Estate Winery shuttled a variety of bloggers and media types up to Santa Ynez, CA to enjoy wine, art, and tranquility. I was one of the lucky ones who nabbed a seat on the mini-coach (thanks to Esi at Dishing Up Delights), which meant that I spent my entire Sunday in the throes of wine tasting MADNESS. Actually, it wasn’t quite madness. It was all a rather refined affair full of mature sips and tasty hors d’oeuvres. And yes, it was awesome.
For those who haven’t been, Bridlewood is a bucolic and downright gorgeous winery just north of Santa Barbara, and I can speak from experience that they crank out some delicious wines. In fact, when I went wine tasting with my parents last summer in the region, Bridlewood was our favorite vineyard (we even emerged with several bottles, much to my delight).
Anyway, this time around, the focus wasn’t just on the wine. It was also on the local artists from the Central Valley of California whose art draws deeply from both Bridlewood and the surrounding environs. We got to meet many of the artists as well as the people behind the wine, and I can assure you it all made for one of those unapologetic “I’m living the yuppie dream” afternoons. If Ina Garten were ever to branch out to California, this would surely be where she’d wind up (and yes, I must always bring everything back to Ina Garten).
Pictures from the excursion after the jump…
Arriving at Bridlewood, we’re greeted by the winery’s general manager (in the dapper white shirt/hat combo).
The estate from the front.
Turning 180 degrees, this is what the estate looks out on. I guess the view is aiiiight.
Bloggers excited about imminent wine.
We approach two nicely manicured and ivy-covered arches. Excitement builds.
No entry. And yet… we enter.
Our first wine. A 2010 Viognier, I believe. (look at how fancy I sound)
Indeed, a 2010 Viognier Reserve. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Barrels (of fun!).
A local artist stands by her works.
The barrel room. We’ll get back to this later.
Tasting #2: a 2008 Viognier reserve. Also lovely (although, Esi and I actually liked the first Viognier more).
Members of the Bridlewood Wine Club and VIPs (I imagine) also were present to meet the artists and sample the wines.
A solid Pinot Noir.
Snacks. This was the sort of event where you couldn’t turn around without encountering a block or two of cheese. That’s a good thing.
The Syrah. OH the Syrah. This was beyond a doubt my favorite wine. Esi and I returned for pours about once every fifteen minutes (the sommelier eventually relented and began giving us double pours). This Syrah was so smooth, I could have drunken it for hours.
Back in the barrel room. In here, we had a chance to sample wines directly from the barrel.
Me getting a sample of… of… I forget (sorry).
A lovely lady doling out pours of the wine.
It’s actually a rather suggestive process.
A barrel with a hole in it. That’s where they pull the wine from.
I clearly was fascinated by this.
At a certain point, Esi and I decided to roam around the expansive estate grounds. Here’s a picture of general tranquility.
I mean, c’mon. C’MON.
Somewhere, Nancy Meyers’ heart is going pitter-pat.
Our stroll takes us to an enclosure for horses.
I’m not sure why one needs horses at a winery, but it sure as hell goes a long way to up the scenic quotient.
A wary equine beast.
You’ll notice that the horse is contributing its own vintage blend to the vineyard’s offerings.
This horse was like the Batman of horses. Also, he had animé hair, which was kind of cool.
Country roads, take me home, etc…
Your weeping willow of the day.
Strolling down a winding road.
Of course there’s a beautiful pond. OF COURSE.
I mean, could this BE any more classically winding-road-pretty?
The inevitable bucolic waterfall.
I should note that I was drinking wine during all of this. So very Sideways of me.
The long and winding road leads us to… grapes!
My wine glass, temporarily earthbound while I snap photos. Also please enjoy my inadvertent shadow puppet of a hair dryer.
This was just too damn scenic to deal with.
Esi, in the wild.
A lotta grapes. Actually, these were grape vines solely. We didn’t see any actual grapes.
Cheers to a lovely afternoon escape.
After roaming the properties, Esi and I returned to the main buildings, enjoyed a delicious box lunch (really, de-liicious), and then boarded the bus back down to LA. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday. Thanks again for everything, Bridlewood.
If you’re interested in Bridlewood’s wines or their estate, be sure to check out the official website here:
And check out Bridlewood’s new collaboration with Central Coast artists here.